Star is what television looks, and sounds, like when it attempts to use a Jackie Collins template without the author. The show premiered on FOX Wednesday evening. It has an impressive cast, Queen Latifah, Benjamin Bratt and Lenny Kravitz are the bigger names of offer.
(Kravitz is a personal favorite as he help open the new SLS Casino and Hotel in 2014 and this reviewer got to watch him perform from about 15 feet away. Electric does not quite cover it…)
Sadly, Lenny has preciously little screen time (perhaps the right word would be mercifully) as the music idol father of one of the three girls destined to become musical sensations.
Kravitz has roughly three lines and these are as snotty as his character. The man could have phoned it in.
As could Queen Latifah. Sure she gets to sing, but her character is every stereotypical “mother-figure” ever seen on TV. Benjamin Bratt is a dodgy musical promoter who has the “hood” patter down pat but he too seems like so much window dressing.
Ms. Brown plays a has-been who now looks after a beauty parlor inhabited by the flotsam and jetsam of the neighborhood. A gay “racist” hairdresser and a daughter who is really a boy underneath all that attitude and hair.
These are just two of the tropes trotted out in order to give the show some sort of “cred.” (Some would argue that featuring a transgender may not constitute a trope but apart from the new term, blokes dressing as women because of gender issues is not new, despite what Hollywood and the LBGTQ would have the public believe.)
The plot reads like a Collin’s tale, although the setting is on the East Coast and not in Hollywood. Two talented singers born on the wrong side of the tracks. Each from a foster-home environment, one is treated as a slave and the other sexually abused, and one headstrong rich girl whose daddy is in the business.
The rich kid believes poppa has sold out and runs away from home to team up with her musical sisters. It all feels a little like Carlton running away from home in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
None of the main characters speaks in anything that remotely resembles real language. It is all “hood-speak” that may go far in defining who they are but says little else about the girls other than they know the slang.
This may well be the biggest failing of the new show. All the main players sound like caricatures of people. Two dimensional cutouts posing as the real thing.
Star wants to be a musical, a’la Dreamgirls but without the excellent music and singers who can really bring it when performing. The parts and songs have not been written well enough for the actors to wow the camera or the audience.
The series comes across as a “wannabe” Dreamgirls for the mentally challenged. There is not one nuance to be found amongst the cliches, tropes and dumbed down plot.
The final verdict? Give this one a miss unless you have all the sense and sensibilities of a 12 year old.
- Jude Demorest – Star Davis
- Benjamin Bratt – Jahil Rivera
- Lenny Kravitz – Roland Crane
- Queen Latifah – Carlotta Brown